Friday, February 26, 2010


I have my own little corner of the world where I can forget that we have been smothered in snow for the past 3 months. Nothing blooming outside, but I am surrounded by color and greenery inside, courtesy of Michael's. It seems I can't go in that store without becoming mesmerized by the rows of silk flowers. My imagination starts to churn out ideas for bouquets and arrangements and cute little crafts. And I am not a craft person by any means. This is just a little corner in my family room where I allow myself to make a mess.
And this is what it looks like outside my window. I haven't seen grass, green or brown, since December. Every time it starts to thaw, we have another snowfall.
But inside the sun is shining on the flowers as I capture them in little floral vignettes of petals and stems and reindeer moss. I lay a carpet of Spanish moss around it all and cover it with a glass dome.
This is the cloche I made for The Husband's office. He wanted something for the credenza in his conference room. So I made something that would look cheery year round. Now I am looking for a runner to go underneath it. Maybe something in a yellow/gold.
This is a little basket that I made with some of my leftover white flowers, tied with a little piece of burlap. I love it.
So this is just a short post about what I have been doing creatively. I've also been reading a lot. Just finished a fantastic book of short stories and am making my way through another. I think I got my reading groove back!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It's Thursday and I am joining Susan from Between Naps On The Porch and many other friends for Tablescape Thursday. Visit Susan's blog to see a list of the participants. I'm off to visit them all in a bit and I hope you do too.
The roses that I received from The Husband on Valentine's Day are really opening up and I so wanted to use them in one of my rare times participating in this event. And coincidentally, I had 4 dessert/appetizer plates that I recently found at Marshall's. The flowers take center stage.

I am using cut work place mats with raised floral stitching in an ivory color. The napkins are matching. They came from a local shop called Mona Lisa. The dinner plates are from HomeGoods.
The silver plate flatware is the same that I have always used, none of it matches, so it always looks different! The wine glasses are vintage reproductions from Napa Style.

This is one of my favorite pieces, a sugar scuttle that I ordered from a website called The Lazy Peacock. If you get the chance, you have to visit this blog and Etsy shop...beautiful things. Below is a picture of the scoop which I rested on the handle so you can see it better...
Mmmm... I am dreaming of a stack of home style pancakes with a scoop of powdered sugar, some blueberries and whipped cream!
This condiment dish is also from The Lazy Peacock. Isn't the spoon darling?
So this is my tablescape this week. I thank you for visiting and hope you are having a wonderful day!
Oops, it looks like Milo popped in for dinner. He's looking a bit embarrassed as he always does when I have the camera out. I hope he likes my table setting!! ;-)

Monday, February 15, 2010


It was that time to start thinking about what I wanted to give up for Lent. Usually it takes me awhile because I try to come up with something that I will miss the least, something that is easy to give up (great Catholic, aren't I?). But this year I knew it well in advance and although it could have been a New Years resolution, I thought it would be better for lent, because if I messed up, well, HE would know. So what did I give up? I am giving up asking people for help and favors. Anything that I can do myself, for myself and others.

If you have been reading some of my recent posts, you know that I can get up on my high horse when I feel people (my family in particular) aren't pulling their weight. As my friend Pat from Gypsy Heart said, "Do I look like I am walking around with a shirt that says Hilton on it?". Well, I think I got most of that out of my system, or at least I came up with some solutions and some things I will just have to live with. They are universal problems and well, if the universe hasn't figured it all out... So you might think it odd that I am giving up the very thing that I have been fighting for, but no, I'm not in the least. I will continue to have my expectations, but it is time to take a look at my responsibilities and how I manage to bump them off on others (gasp).

Case in point: Abigail uses my car for school (and for her mani/pedi's, tanning, mall runs and the occasional visit with a friend). So I only see fit that since she is using my car, I can ask her to stop and buy milk and pop, drop off a package at the post office, bring home the dry cleaning and take the car through the car wash. After all, she is using my car. And well, there we have it, all of Blondie's errands for the day are taken care of. I sit back with a Cheshire cat smile and if I want, I can stay in my jammies all day. And I have. Occasionally I don't even brush my hair.

I do this with The Husband too. I catch him before he leaves from work to ask him to pick up this or that at the grocery store or stop by a friends house to get a book I am borrowing. After all, I am in the middle of making his dinner. Probably in my jammies.

So I ask you to look into your heart of hearts and tell me if you ever do any of this. This taking advantage of a good situation. Do I sound ruthless? In my head I justify this, as I have illustrated. But is it fair?

I racked my brain trying to come up with something to justify my behavior. I was starting to meet some resistance on the part of the slaves, I was accused of never leaving the house (true), of blogging half the day (true), of neglecting my duties (well, um, okay...true) And so I made my decision and decided to start straight away with my new found sense of doing it all myself. Active Blondie. Off and running everyday. Smiling and laughing all pink cheeked with energy and glee. Well, it didn't take long to fail miserably and here is what happened.
On Saturday I went out to Michael's with my daughter and then out to lunch. Afterward I was to stop at the pharmacy and pick up prescriptions for myself and The Husband. Emily and I had a wonderful afternoon and it was only until I was back home, in the house hanging up my coat, that I realized I had forgotten to get the prescriptions. The very first thought that popped in to my head was, The Husband can pick them up on his way home from the office, where he had gone to work for a few hours. My sacrifice never crossed my mind. To make a long story short, The husband was NOT happy to hear from me and was even less happy when he found the pharmacy had closed by the time he got there. And so we did not speak to each other all evening, as that is how it usually goes when things get ugly between us.

The next morning I lay in bed thinking and admitting to myself that I had been wrong. Wrong from the minute I hung up that coat instead of putting it back on. I got out of bed with a renewed purpose.
And there in the kitchen I found a dozen roses, a luscious carrot cake and a mushy Valentine's Day card from The Husband. I went and gave him a big hug and kiss and all was good between us. But then I did something, something so small. I threw on some clothes and actually brushed my hair and I went to the drugstore, got our prescriptions and also picked up a magazine, batteries for my camera, some discount Valentine's Day chocolates, a newspaper...the whole time thinking, "Wow, this getting out thing is fun!" But most of all I realized the err of my ways. And that if I wanted to get on my high horse over chores not getting done or a golf bag sitting in my living room for a week, that's okay. And it is okay to delegate duties to everyone to keep a house running. And it is okay to ask for a favor once in awhile. But as a woman of the new millennium, I have to take care of myself and not rely on others to do it for me. And thankfully I have a husband who knew I would figure it out.
I won this award from Hummer of Joyous Tomorrows. Thank you so much. As this was a lengthy post, I am going to list 7 things about myself and pass the award on in my next post.

Thanks so much for visiting me today.

Friday, February 12, 2010


~~~To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

Visit Laurie for a little more romance at her Valentine's Day Party!


I am working on a post for Laurie's party and should have it up by this afternoon. Not thinking, I joined with Mr. Linkey before I did my post. You would think I had never been to a party before!!

Please come back later and have fun visiting everyone at the party!

Monday, February 8, 2010


I awoke today to hear there is going to be another 8-10' of snow in, as Al Roker likes to say, my neck of the woods. Ugh. We still have dirty snow. You know, patches of snow and slush and mud. Not pretty. So the very best I can ask for is that this new snowfall is going to at least leave us with a pretty white carpet.

Now you may be looking at the above picture and thinking, "Oh. This is how Blondie stocks up for a snowstorm...a lot of Rice A Roni, dog snacks and taco chips." Wrong. This is a small example of what I wake up to every morning. Granted., I pushed everything back and as close together as possible to look neater, and wiped the counter tops off (I don't want to air too much dirty laundry at once, for Pete's sake, and who is Pete?). I just want to ask you, are you the type that cleans up before you go to bed or do you just leave it all until the morning? It seems that even if I do a white glove number in my kitchen after dinner and I am the last one to go to bed, a mysterious little Messy Fairy comes in during the night and I wake up to a disaster. When I get up in the morning I like to have a couple of cups of coffee and catch up on some blogs. And having a counter full of stuff and a sink full of dishes (okay, sometimes they haven't even made it to the sink) waiting for me can really take the joy out of the morning.
Tomorrow will be one week since The Husband came home from his golf trip. These are his clubs, still in their flight bag. And no, this isn't really bad, having them there in front of the stove, because before this they were in the middle of the living room. You can see that they are also in front of a door. This door goes down to the basement and I think that is where the clubs are slowly heading. By spring they will be tucked away in a nice corner down there (if they take one step at a time, literally).

A long time ago after I had first gotten married, my mother learned that I was ironing The Husband's undershirts. I did this because we were short on space and they wouldn't all fit in his drawers unless I did this. She said to me, "Jane, if you start doing this sort of thing now, you will be doing it forever." I wasn't really sure what she was getting at, but I do now. Even if I skip or don't get around to the everyday morning clean up, jaws drop. I am like clockwork. A robot. Mom ALWAYS gets everything done. The advice I have always gotten is "Just don't do it." Sort of the opposite of the Nike ad. But one thing holds me back: If I don't do it, who will??

I hear a lot of bloggers talking about the time constraints they are under when it comes to blogging. It seems they want to a lot more than time allows and I sense an underlying guilt. I know I can feel this way. I juggle my housework, errands and cooking with blogging and I try to throw in some time for reading or crafting or just watching a movie. And I think I have a nice balance going here. The problem is, nobody else thinks so. I wonder if The Husband ever sits in his chair reading the paper or playing online poker, wondering, "Gee, I wonder if Jane is irritated at me. Should I be making her a snack?" Or Abby, lying on the family room couch watching another reality show about unwed pregnant teen couples, dirty dishes, headbands, bobby pins, magazine and nail polish remover all within fingertip reach, thinking, "Wow. I really feel bad about all of this. I should offer to make dinner tonight." Oh, my gosh. Knock me over with a feather. And I am supposed to feel guilty? Guilty???

About a year and a half ago I was in the hospital for a yucky surgery. I had one complication after another and ended up in there for a little over two weeks. As time went on The Husband and kids were getting a bit more demanding with the doctors on when I would be going home. The doctor's excuse, that I had pneumonia, wasn't satisfying them. One day in a pain medication induced dream, I too, was begging to go home. I was begging to go home because I had to clean. I woke up in a sweat and thought about the dream. I knew it was going to be a long road before I could actually get up and clean. And then it hit me. THEY didn't know that. THEY wanted me to come home and CLEAN! And cook. And do the laundry. Oh, it was enough to ask for more morphine.
On a lighter note, I finished this book, which I told you about last week...
...and moved on to this book, which I am halfway through and loving! As another blogger commented, it is a little more raw than the movie, but it is just the way the author is. I'm not crazy about profanity in a book unless it makes a point, and it does. And it is hilarious. I can't wait to see all of the movie when I am finished. I fell asleep before the end the time I rented it.
This is my personal bookshelf in my bedroom. I can honestly say I have only read about 3 or 4 of these books. I thought I had lost my love of reading. But I have found it. I am on a roll.
And this is my next book, which I received from my husband for Christmas (Do you read the 'Alphabet Books'?). I am assuming he wanted me to read and so I am going to do it...without guilt.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Happy Birthday to me!! It was yesterday and I had a great day. We really haven't celebrated much yet because my son Jeff is out of town, but when he gets back we will go out to dinner. And then The Husband and I are planning my birthday trip and I have chosen New Orleans. We like to do that for milestone birthdays and this was a heck of a milestone. I am thinking that we will go in April or May and I have my own strange little reason for putting it off. The weather here in Chicago is miserable right now. I think I have seen the sun about 5 times since November. Before the snow on the ground melts, we get more snow. So you would think that I'd want to go away now. Nope. I would abhor coming back. That is my reason. I think of getting away in the spring as my reward for putting up with this weather. So off we go to the Big Easy and I have plans to pop in and visit my friend Christine from Christine's Home And Travel Adventures. After we met here in Chicago, we vowed we would get together again and she is not that far from New Orleans. I am so excited!

Abby made me this cake last night. We don't normally have cake at home because we order dessert when we go out for dinner, so I completely forgot about a cake and candles when we decided to skip the dinner. Well, I think she was appalled. She drove to the grocery store and got the ingredients and candles and made the cake. Isn't it cute? And so is she. And because I refuse to cook dinner on my birthday, we ordered sushi. It was a great day. :-)
I was finally able to finish the book that I have been reading for years it seems. I have lamented about my lack of time (and overdoing the blogging) for reading and it kills me that it took so long to read a book that should not have taken more than a week. And you might be able to tell by the condition of the book that it has been everywhere; in my purse, in my duffel bag, in my bed, on the floor... It is an excellent book. In a nutshell, it's about a young mother who is widowed suddenly. Her mourning is disrupted by a cast of characters right out of a Woody Allen movie. This is a book that can make you laugh one minute and cry the next. There are the craziest relatives, a few larger than life friends, a hunk (of course) and a priest that is ready to give it all up for her. "...Juliette Fay writes with vivid dialogue and conjures up characters that feel real enough to be sitting in your kitchen." And that is the truth! I love books like this. What is that called? Character development? Anyway, it's a great read and you should look for it at your book store or on Amazon. I am now set to either start a new book or finish the other two I am reading. I think I will move on the Julie And Julia and keep the juggling act going.
I was doing really well on my diet until the birthday cake came along. I had a sliver last night. Then a sliver this morning. I figure that totals one whole piece which is not bad. But last night the Husband brought home Carmel corn. And not just any Carmel corn...Garrett Carmel corn. The best Carmel corn in the world. If you pass the shop in downtown Chicago, you will see a line all the way down the block. I have personally seen this line on the most frigid of days. People are either waiting because it is the best Carmel corn ever, or they have never had it and know it is a Chicago tradition. But I digress. He brought this home and I was such a good girl, didn't go near it. Because you know that if you have one piece you have to have the whole bag. Today I was alone, thinking how good I had been about the luscious chocolate birthday cake when I spotted the bag. Feeling virtuous, I thought, I deserve a small handful. And I proceeded to finish the bag right off. And then I made the mistake that every dieter has made. "Well...since I already screwed up..." and before I knew it I was cutting a humongous piece of cake. I even hit the fortune cookies that came with the sushi. So if you have little restraint or need a jump start on a sweet binge, you can have your own bag of Carmel corn by going to www.Garrett You may or may not regret it.

So that's it for my ramblings today. I hope you are having a great day. Thanks for stopping by!